When I decided to make this blog the first week I arrived in Spain, I pictured myself setting aside some time every week to recount everything I did. Unfortunately, I’ve neglected to do so for a while. Studying abroad certainly offers many new opportunities and I have been busy with these, as well as midterms which are now over. Regardless, I have done so many cool things and I still want to share a little about them.
I am lucky to say that I get to see new and exciting places on the daily, but there was one especially cool place that I visited with my architecture class a few weeks ago. I love this class because our professor always takes us to less well known sites around Barcelona, and one of these places was Casa Lleo Morera, designed by Lluís Domenech i Montaner (I know this now because I completely blanked on the architect’s name during the midterm and had to look back at my notes after). I had never seen an apartment like this in my life. The house was built in 1905 for a wealthy aristocratic family and there are details throughout that reference the family name and history. There are sculptures along the ceiling that tell the story of an infant being tragically dropped into a fire by the nanny and then miraculously reviving, representing the death of the family’s firstborn child. There were also flower patterned tiles along the floor that were individually made by hand, and referenced the family’s last name. The apartment also had unique features that were apparently characteristic of the time in Spain, including a designated entertaining space and a private space for the family, as well as separate gender bedrooms. The kids rooms were upstairs in a completely different apartment where they were looked after by a nanny, which also shocked me. This house has an amazing stained glass wall in the sunroom that overlooks a courtyard in the back. I have included some pictures so you can see the space for yourself.
I’m not going to detail every little place I’ve seen, but I will mention a few of my other favorite ones:
1. Collserola Natural Park: I went on a little hike here one Friday with a group from my program. One thing I love about IES is that they offer lots of events on the weekends that go to places I otherwise probably wouldn’t know about. This park/mountain has really nice trails and views, and we went on a beautiful day.
2. Parc de la Ciutadella: This is a large park in the center of Barcelona and the perfect place to spend a Sunday. There are fountains, a giant elephant sculpture, a pond in the middle where you can rent paddle boats, and a place to sit down for a drink. I’ve been there a few times to enjoy a relaxing afternoon, and I love it because there are always lots of people walking around and doing the same. I even saw some people doing acrobatics together in the grass.
3. Palo Alto Market: This is a market that takes place the first weekend of every month, and there are lots of booths with art and artsy products to appreciate, as well as lots of spanish foods to try and live music. I had spicy empañadas here and a mini cupcake.
4. MACBA (Museum of Contemporary Art): I had been meaning to visit a museum while I was here and finally made it to MACBA. I unfortunately had a bit of a headache the day that I went, but the art was still captivating. I learned that when the museum was built, they didn’t have an art collection in mind, and the outside/building itself was the focus because the community felt that every metropolitan city ought to have an art museum.
5. Montserrat: I was lucky and had the chance to visit Montserrat twice. The first time I went was when my parents were here. Tangent ~ My parents were here for a week and I had the best time with them. In a nutshell, we had some tasty dinners together (one was on the roof of a mall that overlooks Montjuic!), went to a market near their apartment, saw cheese flowers being made, ate chocolate & churros, made pizza one night, visited Gaudí’s Casa Batlló, and then they had other adventures while I took tests. At Montserrat we rode in a cable car up the mountain and visited the church, which was very dark and gloomy on that rainy day, but beautiful at the same time. I went again with my program last weekend and hiked around the mountain and was able to see the group of choir boys who live their sing. The church was overflowing with people to hear them, and if you were there you would understand why. It was truly amazing.
A few other highlights that I have to mention were seeing a light show one night, which is hard to describe but basically consisted of “dancing” light beams that were cast on a bank. I also saw a live Castell performance, which I described briefly in a previous post. There were five different groups of castell performers, and some had up to eight levels of people. I saw a Flamenco show, went on a sunset sea cruise (both with my program), hung out at the beach, visited Tibidabo and took a quick trip to Valencia. Needless to say, I have been quite busy.
I was a little overambitious when I told myself that I would make a weekly post, but I intend to write a few more in the next month and a half. I will keep you posted (get it?). Until next time.
*my computer is having trouble uploading photos but I will add them as soon as I can*